PHOTOS BY ANGIE DE LARA AND RONALYN V. OLEA
TEXT BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
Vol. VIII, No. 26, August 3-9, 2008
The sky was cloudy and there were intermittent rains on July 28, when activists took to the streets to greet Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) with protests. The weather had been like that for a few days previous to the event.
But that did not dampen the spirit and creativity of the protesters, who came up with colorful effigies and other visual works highlighting the Arroyo administration’s accountability for the economic and political crisis and the people’s misery.
Several of the activists came “prepared” for the weather, and had their slogans written not on the usual placards, but on their umbrellas and scarves.
With the bright colors of the effigies and other visuals, the rally was almost like a parade, and indeed the program at times took on aSONA 2008 somewhat festive atmosphere.
But not everything was merrymaking, of course. There were several heart-rending cultural presentations on human rights violations – including by Desaperacidos, relatives of activists who were forcibly disappeared, and a group of youth activists from Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan or New Patriotic Alliance)-USA.
Several speakers, including former Vice-President Teofisto Guingona, Jr.,gave serious speeches on the current crisis.
The protesters highlighted their demand for the scrapping of the value-added tax on oil, power and other socially-sensitive products.
It is perhaps a testament to the proportions that the crisis has reached that even children could not be kept from joining the rally, and on July 28 they came in large number with their SONA 2008parents to the protest activity.
In the end, there had to be the usual effigy-burning, and many could
not help but comment on how long it took before Mrs. Arroyo’s face
could be burnt completely.